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Emily Shetty: Why You Should Vote For Me

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 6/4/2014, 1:15pm  ET

Emily ShettyWe asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.

Next up, we continue in District 18, where Emily Shetty is running for one of three House of Delegates seats in the Democratic primary. Below is Shetty’s unedited response:

My name is Emily Shetty and I am running for one of three seats representing D18 in the Maryland House of Delegates. I am running to be a responsive and effective voice for our community in Annapolis.

Over the past six months I have spoken with thousands of residents in our community, and often heard the same challenges raised — our kids are being educated in overcrowded, underfunded schools (or in some cases, schools with boarded up windows); we’re not doing enough to manage traffic; and concern over the failed implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Maryland.

Though Montgomery County as a whole is fortunate to have excellent schools, children of low-income and vulnerable families are falling behind. I propose a three part plan: provide universal, high-quality pre-school for all kids; equip schools with wrap-around support services; and move from an earmark system of school construction funding to a fair formula that provides Montgomery County with the resources that we need. This is a top priority for me.

Montgomery County’s population is growing exponentially as families continue to choose to move here for our vibrant community. Because the most congested arteries in D18 are state roads, state and county transportation policies must work together to prioritize moving people safely, whether walking, biking, driving or taking mass transit. Our community needs top-notch transit that is reliable and safe for our families. Our representatives are instead fighting needed improvements that will drastically reduce traffic and improve transit. In Annapolis, I will bring state and local leaders together so that we can meet our community’s needs.

As the D18 only candidate with extensive health policy and oversight experience, I will fight to ensure patients are protected as we continue to implement the Affordable Care Act in Maryland. We need leaders who understand the complexities of the healthcare system, and are able to work with all stakeholders to put patients above politics.

As an advocate for cancer patients before Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, I am proud of my successful track record of bringing a voice for patients to the legislative and regulatory process. Over the last few years, I have written and passed several pieces of federal legislation that have resulted in innovative, new therapies reaching patients years sooner. On behalf of seniors in Medicare, I fought proposed changes to the program that would have significantly limited access to necessary, life-saving therapies. We won that fight because we put patients before politics.  I envision a Maryland where we are the national and international gold standard for medical care. We can’t do that if we preserve the status quo.

These issues are deeply personal to me. I was born in Northern Virginia to immigrant parents, and was raised by my single mother. When my father left, I watched my mom work three jobs, several at minimum wage, while returning to school to get her nursing degree. We were enrolled in the food stamp program, and one summer warmed water in the sunshine because we could not afford to fix our broken water heater. Through years of hard work and studying, I attended Duke University where I received my Bachelors in Mathematics and a Certificate in Markets and Management; and later obtained my law degree from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.  I have dedicated my life and career to public service. As a Maryland-licensed attorney, I worked on Capitol Hill for several years for a progressive Member of Congress, and now advocate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society before Congress.

As a long-time community activist, I have a true passion for community and public service. I started serving my community at the age of 9, and currently serve on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, the D18 Caucus board, and am an immediate-past board member of the Montgomery County Young Democrats. I actively recruit, train and engage volunteers throughout the county to ensure that not only are we cultivating the best Democrats locally, but we are empowering them to support the local, state and federal legislatures as we tackle the challenging issues facing our community.

On Election Day, you have an important choice. As your Delegate I will always put your needs above politics. Though I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Washington Post, and other wonderful organizations, the most important endorsement in this race is yours. I hope to earn your vote. To learn more about me, please visit www.emilyshetty.com